Another councillor quits DUP and says party ‘too wedded’ to Stormont

The political turmoil surrounding the DUP has continued with the resignation of another councillor, who said the party is too “wedded” to the Stormont government.

James McCorkell was Deputy Mayor of Limavady Borough in 2013 and Deputy Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough in 2016. INLV2213-355KDR
James McCorkell was Deputy Mayor of Limavady Borough in 2013 and Deputy Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough in 2016. INLV2213-355KDR

Causeway Coast and Glens councillor James McCorkell, who joined the party over 20 years ago and was first stood for election to the old Limavady Borough Council in 2011, has opted to become an independent.

Speaking to the News Letter, Mr McCorkell stressed that his decision is not related to the recent changes in party leadership and wished the new leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson well.

The Limavady man said he has “no intentions” of joining any other party and is likely to stand as an independent in any future elections.

“There is absolutely no issue with Jeffrey Donaldson,” he said. “I wish him well and I hope he turns it around, because unionism needs that.

“But the DUP is wedded to a form of government that hasn’t worked. Stormont isn’t working. It hasn’t been working. “If you look at every leader that unionism has had since 1998, every single one of them has had their downfall because of Stormont - all good people - and I fear Jeffrey Donaldson is going to meet the same demise.

“For me it is the same sense of general disillusionment that everybody else is feeling. I’ve got to the stage now where I just want to forget about party politics and all the things that aren’t delivering for people.”

He continued: “Mandatory powersharing isn’t working. We’re not living in an ideal world and it’s not working for unionism, so as far I’m concerned unionism needs to leave that behind.

“The DUP feel they can’t do that and I can’t have that on my conscience any more.”

Asked what he would like to see replace the current system of powersharing at Stormont, Mr McCorkell said: “No one has an answer to that, because the Good Friday Afgreement was set up in such a way that all parties have to agree to change. It is only working for one party, in bagloads, so why should republicans want to change it?

“It’s not going to be able to be changed, so the only option that unionism has is to bring it down and then look at it for the future.”

The Causeway Coast and Glens councillor accused his former party of having “taken their eye off the people”.

A DUP spokesman said: “We are sorry to see James resign from the party. In correspondence with the Party following his resignation, Cllr McCorkell made clear that he wishes Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Gregory Campbell MP well for the future. We look forward to working with him in the future which he has indicated he wishes to do.”